Friday, December 30, 2016

Thai Adoption {So Far}

We had such a great time with our family in the States over the summer-- catching up with friends, shopping, hanging out and watching HGTV.  Lots of things that were definitely "treats" for us.  It was priceless seeing Tyndall WITH his cousins--from the backyard pool days to the tickle fights on Grandma's floor.  Those experiences will be some of my favorite memories of all time. 

Of course, there were challenging moments.  Times we questioned our ability to parent AT ALL, much less (an)other child(ren) from hard places.  There was even a time I decided we should probably withdraw our names, BUT GOD.  Within hours, God used multiple things to confirm in my heart, through His Word, through my husband, blogs and many other things... We are meant to pursue it.  To do what we can to be a family for one(s) who need us.  The specific one(s) God has for us.  

So, anyway, I thought it was about time to "document" the process.  Here goes:
  • Even before coming back to Thailand in 2015, we knew we would pursue adopting here.  It was part of our reason for coming back. 
  • Once here, we quickly connected with a couple who was in the process and got paperwork and got information on what to do.  (And more importantly, buddies to share the process with. Unfortunately, their adoption was not approved, but they are still very much part of this story.)
  • We knew we had to wait 6 months of living here before we could start the process.  So in the first 6 months, there was just a lot of adjusting to living back in Thailand and praying and dreaming about our future kids. 
  • January 31st marked our 6 months in Thailand when we could have submitted paperwork.  At the time, I was consumed with adjusting to teaching full-time and just couldn't get everything together.  I was also nervous because our friends' adoption had recently been denied, and we had another family start the process who were told they were not qualified.  Since both of these families are AMAZING families, I struggled awhile with not understanding the reasoning and wondering if we were really meant to pursue it.  
  • In February, we worked to start gathering documents and getting things ready for "the list" (one of the 3 versions we were working from at the time of things needed to submit with your application for InterCountry Adoption in Thailand). 
    • We got physicals from a local doctor. 
    • We got psychological evaluations and official letters from a psychiatrist about our ability to parent. (Even though we sometimes question it ourselves! haha!) 
    • Gathered LOTS of documents for our Thailand and USA/FBI background check.  
  • In March, we got serious and set the goal of having everything ready to turn in on the 31st.   
    • We had our fingerprints done (old-fashioned ink style) at the "Royal Thai Police Headquarters" which involved a lot of hand motions and using Google translate :) 
    • Gathered many other documents and racked our brains about details of our lives that are complicated when you move around as much as we have. ;)
    • Submitted our paperwork to the FBI for our USA background check. (Still waiting to get this back.) 
    • It was in March that our friends told us about an orphanage they became connected to, and we got connected to the Australian couple who started it and started learning about their hearts for the kids there.  We started to think this might be the place that our child(ren) come(s) from.  And praying for the kiddos there no matter the outcome.  
  • On March 31st, we both took off work and went downtown to the Child Adoption Center to meet with a social worker and officially start our file.
    • We really liked the social worker who was assigned to us.  When we first met, she asked a lot of clarifying questions about our application. 
    • She seemed surprised that our application was "different" in that we said we are open to boy(s) or girl(s), sibling sets, and ages 3-7, with special needs.     
    • We told her about the orphanage we had learned about and how we thought it might be a good fit, and she said that was an option but wanted to know if we were open to other kids as well.  We said we are.
    • At this time, we received an "official" list of what is required for the full adoption application. And an email address for communication that is used by ALL the social workers in the organization.  (Didn't exactly walk away with warm fuzzies on that one.) 
  • In April, we worked on finishing up everything required of us for our file:
    • We wrote a family history
    • We did pictures of our school and home and did explanations of where the kid(s) would live
    • We received an official request to have a Thai police clearance done from the adoption agency.  (We had attempted to do this at the same time as the FBI background check since most of the requirements were the same, but they required an official letter from the agency in order to be able to do it.)  
    • With official letter in hand, we went to our local police station to have fingerprints done (again, in old-fashioned ink style) and lots of paperwork done including a detailed listing of Matt's tattoos. Thankfully, our friend Jikky from school went with us to help us with translating because we would have been in trouble. 
    • We took another trip downtown to complete our Thai police clearance paperwork--basically we just had to have the forms verified from the local police station, pay fees in one building, turn everything in to another building, and then get a form from yet another building.  That was an adventurous day.  It was also our 2nd attempt at doing that particular task.  The first time we went, all of said buildings were closed for a holiday we had forgotten about.  
    • While downtown, we attempted to meet with our social worker again to turn in more forms. But she was unable to meet, so we ended up emailing the stuff in. 
  • In May, we got word that the documents had been received, and we got our official invitation to attend the "Workshop for Prospective Adoptive Parents" at the end of the month which is held only once a year.  We were very grateful to be able to attend in 2016 and not have to wait until 2017.  
    • The workshop was May 30-31 which happened to be during Stephani & Steven's trip.  It worked out that we were able to stay downtown together, and they took care of Tyndall while we were in the meetings.
    • The actual content of the workshop was good, but we also found ourselves very grateful that we have been to other adoption seminars and conferences.  
    • We met several other families in the process which has been a huge blessing and comfort in getting clarification on things.  
  • When we came back to Thailand in August, we got in touch with our social worker and scheduled our Home Study.  It was completed on August 29th.  At the end of that meeting, our social worker said that the next step would be to be matched.  She also said that since we are open to older kids with special needs, that it probably wouldn't take "as long" to be match.  But the average wait time is 2 years. 
  • In October, we called and checked in for an update which was a very confusing and discouraging call.  We understood that it would be 12-18 months before we would hear anything from them at all.  Looking back, some of it was probably cultural and language confusion.  
  • On December 23, we went to the adoption center and took a Christmas gift to our worker.  We planned not to ask about our file and just reconnect with her, but she shared that we were already on the waiting list and might hear something during the first couple months of 2017.   Trying not to set our hopes on that, but also getting very excited that 2017 will most likely be a year that our family grows!        

1 comment:

  1. The tattoos documentation is funny to me. So does this mean you are approved and just waiting for placement?